Musharraf agrees on constitutional package
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has apparently agreed to a constitutional package to reinstate the judges sacked by him and dilute some of his powers provided he was allowed to stay on with "dignity" and to decide upon his time and method of departure.
Presidential aides were in contact with the government to work out a constitutional package acceptable to all "stakeholders" -- Asif Ali Zardari's PPP, Nawaz Sharif's PML-N, Supreme Court judges, president and the army, highly-placed sources were quopted as saying by Daily Times.
The sources said the president was likely to agree to a proposal to dilute his discretionary powers to dissolve the assemblies.
"The president's powers to use Article 58 (2b) would be made stringently subject to the approval of the SC and some guidelines may also be recommended for the apex court in case such a situation develops," the sources said.
Apparently, the president is not ready to abolish the National Security Council but would agree to a proposal that the provincial governors be appointed on the advice of the prime minister rather than in consultation with him.
However, the sources said the president wanted to retain the powers to appoint the service chiefs.
"There is a disagreement on this issue. He wants the appointment of the services chiefs to the president's prerogative," the sources were quoted as saying by the daily.
Also, he wants to stay on with dignity and decide upon his time and method of departure in the medium term himself.
It is understood that there is a willingness on the part of all sides to fix the chief justice's tenure to a five-year term, the daily said.
The government, the sources said, would soon take all coalition partners and the opposition parties into confidence to build a consensus on the constitutional amendments.
The president has also started meeting his political advisers and members of the PML-Quaid (PML-Q). Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi met him on Saturday.
The PML-Q has already expressed its willingness to support the PPP on a constitutional package that took care of the interests of all stakeholders, particularly the president.